Russia's deputy prime minister says Russian invasion of George was in response to ethnic cleansing by the Western-leaning Georgian government and the failure of the United Nations to act. Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Georgians had killed 2,000 local citizens in a third attempt to eliminate and extricate locals in breakaway South Ossetia. Other Russian officials have said most of the alleged victims were Ossetians who held Russian passports. "I accuse the Georgians leaders of ethnic cleansing because their political goal was to eliminate the population, a tiny population of Southern Ossetia," Ivanov said in a television interview with CNN on Monday. He said appeals to the United Nations did no good. "We had to urgently defend the people while they were still alive," Ivanov said. "We didn't have any alternative."